Written by Anesha Collins
Have you ever heard of the “Queen Bee” Syndrome. It’s often associated with females that are very focused and passionate about what they do (regardless to what their profession is), and it often comes with negative connotation. I’m here to tell you how you can be a female is a predominately male-driven field, and still operate in a professional manner while promoting like a boss as a female cinematographer. Below are six guidelines (or ‘how to’s’) that you can apply (no matter what industry you’re in). In my case, I am speaking from the creative industry as a female cinematographer. I’m sharing standards that I created for myself and have followed throughout my career. Some of these standards have given me the opportunity to work with some amazing people and organizations, while others have given me the best learning experiences that a four-year program could never teach me. So let’s get started:
Whatever You Think You Are, You Are: You’re a Professional
I determined that this was the most important because your mindset can be your biggest barrier; especially in a competitive field of cinematography. If you position your mind in the right direction, it’s so much easier to see things clearer and make a better decision as a creative. You’re a Professional and that is how you’re going to carry yourself. Your persona will orchestrate how others treat you, even if they have a skewed mindset because you're a female. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to go around being stern all the time, but it does mean that you will uphold professional standards and carry yourself as a professional in your creative field.
“Act Like a Lady”, Think Like a Creative
I bet you thought I was going to say to “think like a man”. Nope, in fact, this won’t help much because you’re not a man; use that energy to be creative and keep being yourself. One thing I’ve been told about my eye is that, “I shoot like a man”. My response, “Cool, I’ll doing it wearing heels.” Own your femininity, but you can still be an amazing creative. Thinking like a Creative will allow men within your field to see you as just that, a Creative.
Be Confident (“You Go Girl!”)
This sort of piggybacks with #1, but takes it a step further. In other words, while you’re out there being the amazingly-dope professional cinematographer that you are, you need to walk in confidence. Be confident in what you do. You can illustrate this naturally by studying your craft, always practicing, and always being willing to learn. These three elements will build your confidence and it won’t make you cocky. These three elements will also help you produce quality and who would be ashamed to promote their quality work like a boss when it’s excellent.
Get Out There (Take Accountability for Your Progression)
Start networking even if you’re afraid. All it takes is a few uncomfortable networking opportunities for you to break this fear. I have been the only female on set of music video for artist signed to major record labels. Was it frightening, nope. I stayed true to myself and contributed as a creative. Look at it this way, no one was born with the knowledge they have; someone taught them what they know or they learned it along the way. This is also how you promote your skills, business (if you’re at that point), or even get to know people within your niche who can teach you more.
Find Virtual Influencers (Be Inspired)
This is probably one of the more exciting standards of mine to share because the discovery process will shock you and when you see how phenomenal these women are you will love it. Start by searching social media or google for female cinematographer; they are out there. Check out some of the female cinematographers that inspired me are Hannah Lux (Director), Ava DuVernay (Writer, Producer, and Director), Melina Matsoukas (Music Video Director), Emma Lynn (Wedding Cinematographer). Look these ladies up and let that spark a flame. Their work is phenomenal.
Develop a Daily Motivational Routine (Be Motivated)
Every morning between 9:00 a.m-10:00 a.m., there are two people that I listen to to get my juices flowing, and that’s Gary Vaynerchuk and Patrick BetDavid. Most of the time I’ve already received email notifications that these two have loaded new videos, so that’s what I listed to, but if not, I will find a video (intentionally) to listen to by them. Not only are these two both gifted at what they do, but they are both positive seeds that have motivated me to do and explore some of the things I’ve done in my creative career. Gary Vaynerchuk is great for self-awareness and straight-forwardness for your creative soul. Patrick BetDavid is excellent for branding, marketing, and business-focused education and decision-making.